Bashar al-Assad

Syrian Arrested in Saudi Arabia over pro-Assad Facebook Photo

RIYADH, Dec 16 – Saudi police arrested a Syrian resident in Riyadh after he posted a photo of himself on Facebook praising the recapture of his home city of Aleppo by government forces, according to a report in al-Riyadh newspaper on Friday. A photo published with the report showed a man with his hand raised

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U.N. Syria Envoy Says Rebel City Idlib Risks Aleppo Fate If No Peace Talks

PARIS – U.N. envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura warned on Thursday that without a ceasefire or political agreement the rebel-stronghold of Idlib risked becoming a new Aleppo after the evacuation of thousands from the besieged city started. The operation to evacuate civilians and fighters from Aleppo began on Thursday, part of a ceasefire deal

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Syria’s White Helmets Accuse Russia of Aleppo War Crimes in Letter

UNITED NATIONS, Dec 15 – Russian air strikes in the Aleppo, Syria, region have killed some 1,207 civilians, 380 of them children, the Syrian White Helmets civil defense group told United Nations war crimes investigators in a letter seen by Reuters on Thursday. The White Helmets, the Syrian Network for Human Rights, Independent Doctors Association

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Aleppo Rebel Evacuation Takes Place After Ceasefire Deal

By Laila Bassam, Suleiman Al-Khalidi and Tom Perry ALEPPO, Syria/BEIRUT, Dec 15 – An operation to evacuate thousands of civilians and fighters from the last rebel bastion in Aleppo began on Thursday, part of a ceasefire deal that would end years of fighting for the city and mark a major victory for Syrian President Bashar

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Syrian Leader Assad’s Shi’ite Allies Helped Him Win in Aleppo

By Tom Perry, Laila Bassam, Suleiman Al-Khalidi and Tom Miles BEIRUT/AMMAN/GENEVA, Dec 15 – When rebel fighters launched a last desperate attempt to break the siege of Aleppo in October, they were beaten back – not by the Syrian army but by the Lebanese Shi’ite group Hezbollah fighting on its behalf, a senior official in

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One Killed as Medical Convoy Trying to Leave Aleppo Comes Under Fire

By Laila Bassam, Suleiman Al-Khalidi and Tom Perry ALEPPO, Syria/BEIRUT, Dec 15 – Ambulances trying to evacuate people from rebel-held eastern Aleppo on Thursday came under fire from fighters loyal to the Syrian government, who killed at least one person, a rescue service spokesman said. But other buses and ambulances later started moving into rebel-held

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Hezbollah Media says Deal on Track to Let Rebels Leave Aleppo

AMMAN, Dec 15 – A military media unit run by Damascus’s ally Hezbollah said early on Thursday that overnight contacts succeeded in reviving a ceasefire that would lead to the evacuation of rebels from Aleppo “within hours”. “Intensive contacts between the responsible parties involved in the negotiations led to re-consolidating a ceasefire to exit armed

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Rebel Officials say Aleppo Evacuation Plan Back on Track

By Laila Bassam, Suleiman Al-Khalidi and Tom Perry ALEPPO, Syria/BEIRUT, Dec 15 – Syrian opposition groups said an evacuation of rebel-held areas of Aleppo was back on track and expected to begin early on Thursday, but uncertainty persisted as a media outlet run by Lebanon’s Hezbollah said truce talks faced “big complications”. Such an exodus

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Putin and Erdogan Agree to Make Joint Effort to Evacuate East Aleppo

ANKARA, Dec 14 – Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin agreed in a telephone call on Wednesday to make a joint effort to start the evacuation of civilians and opposition forces from eastern Aleppo as soon as possible, Turkish presidential sources said. Putin and Erdogan emphasised the need to prevent the violations

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Fall of Aleppo Puts Iran on Cusp of ‘Shiite Crescent’ of Influence

By Babak Dehghanpisheh BEIRUT, Dec 14 – Iran has played a pivotal role in Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s campaign to crush rebel resistance in Aleppo and is now close to establishing a “Shi’ite crescent” of regional influence stretching from the Afghan border to the Mediterranean Sea. Revolutionary Guards commanders and senior clerics in Tehran have

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